Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lohan before the fall: the wonderful GEORGIA RULES

Just when it looked like voracious indie product had sucked the juice and truth out of the dysfunctional family subspecies, along came the odd couple of director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) and Lindsay Lohan to provide not only the best movie in the genre in ages, but one that could easily fill a Twilight Zone double bill withMysterious Skin

Lohan plays a hypersexualized teenage wreck whose alcoholic mom (Felicity Huffman) sends her off to Idaho for a stay with her own mother (Jane Fonda), an emotionally remote, amorphous Christian. (The image of Lohan passed out in virginal white under a sign reading "Welcome to the Land of the Famous Potato" is an early indicator of Marshall's gentle, weird humor.) 

After the basic setup, and a plot that has much to do with the repressed returning in spades, Georgia does things indies are too hiply full of the latest misunderstanding of the ironic gesture to countenance: Christians and Mormons are ribbed and respected; rural life is an amusing and viable option.

Most uncool in this embrace-the-abuse Rihanna moment, sexualized and just plain sexual violence has lasting un-pretty consequences and a mere movie, despite Little Miss Sunshine's delusional insistence otherwise, can only suggest the beginning of a solution to big trouble. While everyone is understated and ace in their roles, it's Lohan's exposed nerve of a performance that pays the bills here with interest. Soon we'd be treated to the spectacle of a 60s party girl like Fonda tut-tutting Lohan's entirely average nightlife as the overture to the onetime ginger-girl becoming celebrity bloodsport as the nation's latest sacrificial blond. 

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